"Thank God for film archivist Dennis Nyback. If not for his encyclopedic knowledge of rare films and his tenacity for acquiring them, we would never have the privilege to view some astounding works of cinema." Kim Morgan

Dennis Nyback takes his films around the world. Find out how to book a show, what programs are available, how to arrange for custom programming, and just about anything you would like to know about Dennis Nyback.

2003 South Korea

In 2003 I was a guest at the Pifan Film Fest in South Korea. I also showed films in Japan. Pifan was nice enough to fly me from America, having the flight land in Seoul for Pifan, and then fly me roundtrip to Japan, before coming back to Seoul, for my flight home. Before traveling to Korea I had shipped my three 16mm film programs forward. That was so they could put subtitles that would run on the screen beside my films so the patrons could understand the dialogue. I cannont fathom the cost of that task. Also before I flew to Seoul I prepared remarks that would be translated and included in materials given to those attending. Those remarks are below. I should also add that the only time I am sure I was mentioned in the International Herald Tribune, was in an article about Pifan.

Below is the requested general introduction for my three programs.  The titles for the three programs are:  Hillibillies in Hollywood;  The Blaxploitation Cartoon Special; and The Open Road. 

My three programs would seem to have no connecting theme, but oddly enough they do. They all deal with myth and reality. All of these films reflect beliefs. They reflect attitudes. Most of them are at least fifty, and some are nearly one hundred , years old. Most of the film makers were naive in their willingness to document their point of view, little thinking that fifty to a hundred years later we would be examining it. The three topics they examine from these films from the past are: Hillbillies, Black People, and The Open Road.

The Hillbilly is as much of a myth of Americana as the noble Redman, the shiftless darkie, Billy the Kid, Custer’s Last Stand, and other icons that started out based on certain beliefs, facts or events and grew up into out and out legends. Every American has a basic vision of a Hillbilly. They come from “the Hills” of Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, or who knows else where. They never went to school, live in shacks with no indoor plumbing, are missing teeth, in-bred, make their living by producing “moonshine” illegal liquor, and find no greater joy than killing their neighbors who they have been in a “feud” with for several generations. This vision was enhanced with the coming of motion pictures. Americans could see “real life” Hillbillies appearing on film. They could also see Hollywood actors portraying “real life” Hillbillies. They couldn’t tell the difference. They didn’t care either. In the 1960’s people in regions of the United States other than Appalachia started noticing Hillbilly tendencies in groups of people around them. Not living in the hills they needed a new term to describe the hillbilly like people among them. In different places these people were called Shit Kickers, Hayseeds, White Trash, and Red Necks.

During the 2000 American presidential campaign Karl Rove made the audacious decision to capitalize on George Bush’s mis-use of the English language. He recognized that in the minds of the average voter it would compare favorably with Al Gore’s erudite correctness. Could this have been the crucial act that led to the election of President George Bush? Karl Rove realized something that any huckster, con man or quack medicine purveyor knew: you can’t con the rubes by appearing smarter than they are. Karl Rove realized that by making George Bush appear as stupid as the average American he had the key to victory. Karl Rove clearly had his finger on the pulse of the Hillbillying of America.

Milton Bartok was a successful medicine show spieler. The medicine show flourished during the late 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. The medicine troup would come to town, put on a free show, and sell patent medicines to the hicks. They preyed on an uneducated public in small town America who thought they could buy good health in bottle. Bartok saw the danger in being too articulate before a crowd. He developed a hesitant style to avoid being labeled a confidence man. “The smooth talkers put the people on guard, ” he said. ” ‘He’s a sharpie; he’s a smooth talker’ — once you hear that you’re done.” It is doubtful that Karl Rove was aware of Milton Bartok. Millions of con men who came after him practiced the same con. Television upped the stakes. Instead of a horse and wagon medicine show arriving in a small town, the medicine show now arrived in every home in America that had a TV set. It was no longer Milton Bartok selling Kickapoo Joy Juice and Lydia Pinkham pills, it was Clem Kadiddlehopper selling Anicin, Ex-Lax and NoDoz.

Among the most famous Hillbillies in America were two Hollywood creations: Ma and Pa Kettle and The Beverly Hillbillies. Ma and Pa Kettle first appeared in the motion picture The Egg and I in 1946. They went on to appear in nine Ma and Pa Kettle films. The Beverly Hillbillies first appeared on TV in 1962. By market share it was the most popular television show of the 1960’s. It ran through 1971. At the same time Red Skelton could be seen once a week in the guise of his most popular creation, the hayseed hick, Clem Kadiddlehopper. The Red Skelton Show was a Tuesday night staple from 1954 to 1970. Eddie Albert tried to get in touch with the Hillbilly ethic by buying a farm in the popular Green Acres which lasted for six seasons from 1965 to 1971. Another show that was spun off Beverly Hillbillies was Petticoat Junction in which a country widow operated a down home hotel with her daughters in the aptly named town of Hooterville. Just to fill out the 1960’s obsession with the Hillbilly we also saw Mayberry R.F.D., The Jim Nabors Hour and Hee Haw. It is not even a reach to say that Archie Bunker, patriarch of the most watched family of the 70’s, was tainted with Hillbillyism in his unashamed bigotry. Motion pictures also got with the program by showing rednecks, hillbillies and rubes in Easy Rider, Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Currently in the works at CBS is a new reality show based on the Beverly Hillbillies where we can see genuine yokels living among the rich folk. Fox TV reacted to that that by announcing a reality version of Green Acres.

Black People in America have long been the victim of discrimination. The discrimination was been based on stereotypical beliefs that had no basis on fact. Those beliefs included: lack of intelligence, lack of a work ethic and a lack of morals; they included a weakness for gambling, chicken stealing and watermelon eating; they included a gift for athletics, dancing and music. Films from the first half of the twentieth century document those stereotypical beliefs. You can see some of the greatest people of the century portrayed in degrading ways. Billie Holiday plays a maid in her only feature film. Louis Armstrong performs wearing a leopard skin in another. Ethel Waters appeared in the film “Rufus Jones For President” that is a compendium of racist beliefs. Bessie Smiths only film appearance is as the victim of a black gigolo. Bill Robinson plays an Uncle Tom to Shirley Temple. Paul Robeson plays an illiterate dock worker in Show Boat. Cartoons from the same era show all of the same stereotypes but do so in an even more exaggerated fashion.

The open road has long been, right up there with “The American Dream” , one of the greatest myths in the great big U S of A. It has been used to sell Automobiles to people who never drive them out of the city. It has been used to sell “high test” gasoline, all weather tires, and AAA memberships. It makes buyers add thousands of dollars in options for their new car such as four wheel drive, a trailer hitch, a heavy duty suspension trailer package, and a global positioning navigation system. This is all bought by people who havent taken more than a three day vacation in years. No matter how shitty your life can be the road offers you the chance to escape. Just get out on the high way and your cares are left behind. Everything is better. When you return from the road: you will magically have a better job, a better future, and a better life. You will meet colorful people who treat you like a friend. You will stay in quaint motels with real character and incredibly comfortable beds. You will taste the toothsome flavors of regional cuisine. You will discover two lane back roads through virginal forests or along mountain tops. You will see wondrous sights and new things.

What is the reality? You never get off the interstate. and you will see MacDonalds, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut where ever you go. You will use your credit cards exclusively and return home even more in debt than you started. Every motel you stay at looks the same and the ones that look different are too terrifying to approach. You will spend more time in your car driving than out of it experiencing life.

Here is a longer (350 word) introduction for the Blaxpo cartoons.  It can replace the shorter introduction I sent earlier.

Just as black people were marginalized in American society for most of the twentieth century their appearances in films were almost completely in stereotypical roles and in subservient positions. With rare exceptions the only roles available to black actors and actresses in 1930’s Hollywood were as chauffeurs, porters, toilet attentendants, maids, butlers, shoe shine boys, elevator operators and criminals. The history of blacks in narrative motion pictures has been discussed and documented at length in scores of books, articles and documentary films. The history of their appearances in cartoons has been largely ignored. There is no single book examining blacks in animation. There has been no documentary film or television special. The most interesting collection on film was at the end of Spike Lee’s feature film “”Bamboozled” where he assembled as many racist and stereotypical images as he could find and edited them into a dazzling collage of forbidden history. Much of the footage was from cartoons, several of which will be in my program. I use the word forbidden advisedly. Many of these examples of stereotypical racism are unseen by modern Americans. The most egregious scenes have been deleted from many narrative films. The situation is even more extreme with animation. Offensive images were removed from cartoons starting in the 1950’s. In 1968 Warner Brothers banned eleven of their own cartoons. They announced that they would no longer show them or allow them to be shown. Other studios followed suit. Oddly enough, the films were kept under copyright, probably to maintain control and to suppress them. During the last thirty years many more cartoons have been edited or suppressed completely. The suppression of these films and cartoons has two results. It does protect minority groups from being stigmatize and hurt. It also erases from history the truth about Americas attitudes about race. This program shows images of blacks in animation from the earliest days of the medium into the post war period of the late 1940’s. It is admittedly an arbitrary grouping, but it does include works by many of the most influential animators in the history of animation.

Professor Bonehead Shipwrecked  (1916) Emil Cohl

Emil Cohl was the first great animator.  He began his career in France and was brought to America in 1915 to teach animation techniques to Americans.  He produced this cartoon there.  It concerns an explorer whose ship sinks leaving him in Africa where he is confronted by African natives.

Mutt and Jeff in One Too Many  (1919)  Bud Fisher

Mutt and Jeff were comic strip stars at the turn of the twentieth century.  In the early teens their comic strip exploits were made into animated cartoons.  In this example Jeff discovers a potion that renders him invisible.  He is assisted by a black man.

Love in Black and White (aka Two Cupids,  Amour noir et amour blanc) (1928)  Wladislaw Starewicz

Starewicz is the all time master of stop motion animation.  He started his career in Russia and moved to France after the Russian revolution.  This cartoon concerns two cupids, one black and one white.  It also features caricatures of silent film stars including Charlie Chaplin and Tom Mix.

Mickey’s Man Friday (1935)  Walt Disney

Mickey Mouse is ship wrecked on an island inhabited by cannibals.  He is befriended by one of them and together they escape. This is a fanciful version of Daniel DeFoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe” published in 1719.

Streamlined Robinson Crusoe (1938)  Paul Terry

Another version of the Crusoe story.  Paul Terry was an animation pioneer who created nearly one thousand cartoons in a career that started in 1915 and lasted until 1966.

The Rasslin Match  (1934)  Van Beuren

The two white actors Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden became famous in the late 1920’s with their radio show Amos and Andy.  They portrayed a white person’s view of black men in a broad stereotypical manner.  They were so popular that cartoons with Correll and Gosden supplying  the voices to go with  animated versions of their radio creation. The Amos and Andy radio lasted into the 1950s’ and then moved over to television with actual black actors playing the parts of Amos and Andy.  In this program there are examples of the works of most of the great animation studios of the 1930’s.  The least remembered of them in the studio of Amadee Van Beuren. His studio produced animation from 1928 until his death in 1937.

Toyland Broadcast  (1934)  Rudolf Ising

Rudolf Ising worked with Walt Disney in the early days of the Disney  company.  He and Hugh Harman split from Disney to make cartoons by themselves.  They called their company Harman and Ising.  This cartoon is about a little boy who falls asleep and dreams that his toys come to life as famous radio stars in his room.  Among the radio stars are black performers. 

The Old House  (1936)  Hugh Harman

After leaving Disney, Harman and Ising went to work for Warner Brothers, making that company’s first animated cartoons.  There they created the character of Bosko.  When Harman and Ising left Warner Brothers they retained the rights to the name Bosko but not the animated figure.  They created an all new Bosko, turning him into a black child.  In this cartoon he and his friend Honey venture into a haunted house.

Uncle Tom’s Cabana (1947) Tex Avery

Uncle Tom was created by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  It is a  a seminal work of American literature.  The phrase “an uncle tom” became a derogative term for subservient black men.  Tex Avery made two cartoons lampooning the story.  The first was at Warner Brothers in 1937 as Uncle Tom’s Bungalow.  He left Warners in 1942 and moved over to MGM.  There in 1947 he revisited the story with this imaginative version.

Liza On The Ice  (1941)  Walter Lantz

In Uncle Tom’s Cabin there were other characters interacting with Uncle Tom.  Among them were Liza, Silas Legree and Little Eva.  This cartoon tells a story from the book featuring those characters in a shocking and imaginative manner.

Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943) Bob Clampett

In 1943 Bob Clampett was visited by the pioneering black choreographer Katherine Dunham.  She suggested that he make an all black character cartoon.  Black character cartoons had been common in the 1930’s but had been largely abandoned because of claims of racicsm.  That year he produced two all black cast cartoons.  This was one of them.  It uses a caricature of the piano player Fats Waller in the story of a jazz man who is blasted into a surreall world through hot jazz music.  For the surreal world Clampett reused footage from his 1937 cartoon Porky in Wackyland.

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943)  Bob Clampett

This is the other of Bob Clampett’s two 1943 race cartoons.  It is a parody of Disney’s Snow White set in Harlem.  It has been discussed at length in such books as The Fifty Greatest Cartoons and in various other places.  It has been touted as a work of genius and dismissed as racist trash. 

Back in 2004 I got paid fifty bucks for this piece of writing

Rapt at Unwrapped Bread

Dennis Nyback


From The West Side Spirit (New York City) June 10, 2004

While standing in line last week in a grocery store in New York, I
noticed the man in front of me was buying a gallon of water. I asked
him how much it would cost. He said $3.79. I thought to myself,
there’s the signal difference between America and France. In France,
red wine costs less than Coca Cola. In America, gas costs less than

Every year I travel in Europe for a month or so, taking my films on
tour. I don’t stay in hotels; I stay with the people who have booked my
programs. I have been doing this for nine years. When I hear George W.
Bush say we are fighting in Iraq for “our way of life”, I know exactly
what he means. We do live differently than they do.

In Europe escalators work on demand. They do not endlessly run while
no one is using them. They sit idle when not needed and start up when
you approach them. Apartment building stairs are not lit twenty four
hours a day. When you step into a dark stairway you will see a lighted
switch. You turn the switch and the lights go on for as long as it
normally takes to climb the stairs. They then go off, until they are
needed again. European apartment kitchens and bathrooms use small water
heaters that work on demand. In America, big water heaters keep
hundreds of gallons of waters hot and ready twenty four hours a day.
Many European apartments have a clothes washer. I have seen only one
with a clothes dryer.

In America everyone gets a bag with every purchase to be later thrown
away and take up space in a land fill. In Europe people provide their
own cloth bags when shopping at grocery stores. Unwrapped loaves of
bread peep out of cloth bags or are held nakedly in hands. At small
patisseries and frankfurter stands your food is handed you on a small
square of paper. Paris streets have very little trash, but the trash
you do see is from MacDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut. It is a
peculiarly American practice to put a hamburger in a Styrofoam
container and place that inside a paper bag.

Gasoline in Europe costs roughly twice as much as it does in America.
In cities people walk or take public transportation. Many smaller
cities in Europe, Munich and Nuremberg for example, have subways.
Trains criss cross the continent. They are comfortable and they run
on time. Danish trains cross bodies of water on specially designed
ferries. Train stations are in the center of the towns and are reached
by public transportation or on foot. On average people are slimmer
than Americans. Could it be walking and not eating fast food has
something to do with it?

I wish more Americans would travel in Europe. I’ll bet that George W.
Bush never went to Europe before he could fly on Air Force One. Maybe
if he had walked through Berlin when he was young, he would have a
deeper understanding of what can happen to a country which prioritizes
putting itself on “war footing”. But Bush is not a curious man.
Overall, Americans are not a curious people.
Only fifteen percent of all Americans have passports. That means only
fifteen percent of us are in a position to judge for ourselves the wide
variety of possible meanings for the phrase “our way of life”. In
France it is affordable wine. In America it is affordable gas. Both
require price supports. Both are national policy. But French soldiers
are not dying to guarantee that a Frenchman can buy a bottle of wine.
In Europe, many small things are done to conserve energy. I’ve seen
how they work. To Europeans, our decision to pursue our abundantly
fossil fueled lifestyle at all cost, without taking these same
conservation measures at home, must seem nothing short of insane.


“Everyone starts out as an individual and wants to remain one but usually it’s beat out of them by the time they’re thirty”.
                                           George Orwell

“Seattle’s a city where everyone on their twenty-ninth birthday crawls into their coffin and waits”.
                                Karen Bramsen

I don’t expect you to recognize the name of the second quote.  My ex-girlfriend Karen said that in 1995 before she convinced me to get out of Seattle and move to a real city, New York.  How bad is the conformity in Seattle?  A few years ago a man named Stamper became Chief of Police.  On his first night in Seattle he and his wife checked into a downtown hotel in the middle of the night.  As he looked out the window at his new city he called excitedly to his wife “Look at those people standing on the corner”.  What were they doing on that freezing, night without an automobile in sight?  They were waiting for the WALK light to go on before they crossed the street.  Chief Stamper couldn’t believe his eyes.  Welcome to Seattle, city of sheep.  My only hope is that the great city of New York doesn’t follow Seattle’s lead and turn its citizenry into people who think it takes more than looking both ways to safely cross a street.

Now to a little of my personal history of Jaywalking in Seattle.  One night in the 1980’s I drove with my girlfriend Elizabeth and a couple of friends to have a meal about eleven o’clock at night.  We parked across the street from a cafe and jaywalked across the street.  Elizabeth was the last across and I waited for her in the empty street.  Just then two cops came out of the cafe and obviously needed to start writing tickets to make up for the ones they missed while lingering over coffee and donuts.  They nabbed us.  Unfortunately Elizabeth had a nasty temper and started to loudly berate them.  She said to one of them “What do you need that gun for?  I’m from England and the policemen there don’t carry guns.  You must need one to compensate for your obvious lack of virility”.  The upshot?  I got thrown in Jail. Elizabeth had her state  issued picture ID, and I only had (I wasn’t driving) my picture-less U of W student ID.  Not being able to prove my existence and stung by her mouth they trundled me off to the Hoosegow.  I was booked, fingerprinted and during the process the guard leered  at me and said in a menacing voice “Know what they got ya in here for?  I said no, imagining an endless list of Kafkaesque charges.  In the same tone of voice he spit out “Jaywalking! , and you know what the bail is?” Again I imagined unbelievably punitive amounts. He cut off my thoughts with a sneeringly triumphant “Thirteen bucks!”  Shortly I was put into a surprisingly comfortable cell with six bunks and three other hardened criminals.  A few hours later my bail of $13.00 was paid by my friends and I was sprung.

Several years later I told this story to my lawyer (Who was later dis-barred and died).  He asked “What did they charge you with, failure to control your broad?”

Not long after that I was walking down the main street in the University District and Jaywalked across to enter the JC Penny store.  Out of nowhere a cop appeared and asked for some ID.  Just as I reached for it a young man burst out of store and started running up the sidewalk.  The cop turned his head and took a step in that direction and I started running as fast as I could in the other direction.  I almost got hit by a car sprinting through a busy intersection, ducked into a store and exited out the back door. Nobody shot me and when I stopped un-apprehended several blocks later  I’d never felt so exhilarated before in my life.  If a cop tries to give you a Jaywalking ticket you should try it, although now they just might shoot you.

Last summer I was visiting Seattle.  Around ten o’clock I was walking up the same University District street reading a book.  As I crossed a street against the light a prowl car stopped and the cop said to me “Why’d you cross against that light?”  I said “I live in New York, I didn’t know it was a problem here”.  Wrong answer.  Both cops recognized me as a dangerous bolshevik and approached me warily with their ticket books in hand.  Not being as young or as fast as I used to be I reached for my wallet.   While one of the cops was in the car checking the computer to see if I was dangerous felon (an obvious assumption considering my apparent lack of respect for authority) the other cop asked me “Just what do you think we’re doing out here?”  I replied “Wasting both of our time”.  He nodded and said “Yeah, you’re probably right.  So you live in New York?  Don’t pay the ticket, we’re not going to come after you”.   The second cop got out of the car and handed me the $47.00 symbol of fascism and I left.  Just for laughs I decided to contest the ticket and see what it would get me.  Within six weeks I had an appointment with a magistrate and told him the whole sordid tale.  All he could say was “You have two choices,  I can’t do anything for you,  you can either pay the ticket or request a court hearing”.  I said “I’m going back to New York next week and can’t wait months for a hearing, but I do have another choice”.  He played straight man and said “What’s that”.  I replied “I could just walk out of here and ignore the whole thing”.  He looked at his computer screen which had my whole history of un-paid parking tickets dating back to 1984 (the city wants more than a thousand dollars from me) and said in a judicially derisive voice “I see you won’t have any problem doing that”.  I gave it one last shot.  “Look, if I walk out of here the city will never get a nickle out of me, but if you’ll reduce the fine to ten bucks I’ll pay that and the city will get something for your time”.  He said “I can’t do that” so I left without paying.  Later I got a letter from a collection agency demanding $113.00 for the ticket which must be growing like Topsy.  It appears Seattle isn’t going to take this lying down.

Forgive me if I now offer some personal thoughts on the dangers and benefits of Jaywalking.  Seattle, with its draconian enforcement measures and sheep-like citizens has a serious problem with pedestrians being hit in cross walks.  Recently they enacted a new ordinance to prevent this.  Simply put it said that a car had to stop whenever a pedestrian entered a cross walk and  not just when they would be walking in front of you.  The ordinance said that if the pedestrian enters on the left and you’re on the right you have to stop even if you would miss them my twenty feet.  Also if they enter on the right and you’re on the right you have to remain stopped until they reach the left-hand sidewalk.  Motorists howled and the ordinance is now largely ignored after an initial flurry of citations.  What do I think is the real reason pedestrians in cross-walks are in such danger in Seattle?  It’s because they have surrendered the roads to motorists.  In New York drivers are used to people crossing the road everywhere and are not surprised when it happens.  Drivers in Seattle take it as an affront to their manifest destiny to proceed when someone crosses a street.  Whether in a crosswalk or not they seem to take gleeful joy in buzzing them as closely as possible.  In New York pedestrians approaching a blinking don’t walk light blithely ignore it even when they know they can’t reach the opposite side before the autos have a green.  They continue ambling across like it was the most natural thing in the world.  I am continually amazed by this and marvel at how brazen they are and how patiently the lead motorist at a green light waits until the last straggler is past.  In Seattle when the light turns green the motorists are off to the races and the odd-ball laggard would usually be nailed unless he leaps out of the way.  After all, the car owns the road. There is one more reason why so many pedestrians get hit by cars in a tightly controlled city.  Too many times the pedestrian is busy looking out for the cops when he jaywalks and is distracted from the serious business of looking out for cars.

Music Man review 7/11/2014

Five years ago I was reviewing plays for the  online  Portland Stage Reviews.  I’ll post them all eventually, unedited of what I sent to the page.  Here’s one

Meredith Willson was born in Mason City, Iowa in 1902. George M. Cohan had made his Broadway debut with his play The Governor’s Son a year earlier. Meredith Willson’s play The Music Man is set in 1912. By that time George M. Cohan had written, produced and starred in over 13 Broadway musicals; including in 1910 the aptly named The Man Who Owned Broadway . Meredith Willson’s The Music Man was produced in 1957 and is set in the fictional town of River City, Iowa. More correctly it is set in the era of George M. Cohan and the idyllic Iowan childhood of Meredith Willson.

Meredith Willson was 55 years old when The Music Man opened. He had witnessed tremendous changes: the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War. He also witnessed the birth of Jazz and also the birth of Rock and Roll. The Music Man is set in a time when automobiles were still something of a novelty, recorded music had not yet produced a million seller, radio was not yet used for entertainment, television was years and years away, and the bands of Giuseppe Creatore and John Phillip Sousa were famous in the land. It was also a time when a small town in the middle of Iowa could exist in its own little bubble of timelessness in way very difficult for us to comprehend. It was a time and place Meredith Willson knew well. That makes us fortunate. It is a lovely place to visit. Thanks to The Music Man we can.

Although there is a lot more going on this is very much the story of Professor Harold Hill and the Librarian Marion Paroo. Here they are capably essayed by Joe Theissen and Chrissy Kelly-Pettit. Mr. Theissen is very good and appropriately insouciant in the showy part of the con man Harold. He moves well on the stage and his voice is fine for the part. Ms. Kelly-Pettit is very good as the late to awakening in love Marion. She has a nice voice with a warm quality that is well up to the challenges in the score.

The Music Man uses songs to move along the plot as well as any musical ever written. After “Rock Island.” introduces us to the life of Victorian era traveling salesmen we have Harold exhibiting his salesmanship with the songs “Ya Got Trouble” and “76 Trombones.” Marion’s songs “Goodnight My Someone” and “My White Knight” help us to understand her character. The songs “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little,” “Shipoopi,” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon” concisely introduce themes of life in a small town.

One part of life in 1912 that is still celebrated is Barbershop Quartette singing. A high point of the Music Man is the Quartette singing “Lida Rose” with Marion responding with the counter melody “Will I Ever Tell You.” This song is still being performed by barbershop quartettes around the world. It is very well performed in this production. “Till There Was You” is a wonderful song; as good as any love song written for the Broadway stage. It was also a hit in Great Britain.

Among the supporting roles Norman Wilson as Marcellus Washburn is excellent. Brandon B. Weaver as Charlie Crowell is also very good.

The weakest part of the production is the dancing. That said, the partner dancing in “Marion the Librarian” was good. All of the other dance numbers were fun. All of the large ensemble pieces are choreographed well.

A star of the production is the Deb Fennell Auditorium at Tigard High School. It was built in 1953. Back then they still built High School Auditoriums with large proscenium stages and fly systems. The Deb Fennell also has a working waterfall curtain. This production starts with the raising of the curtain to reveal a huge train locomotive moving head on toward the audience. The locomotive than splits in half to create a chair car of that train. The chair car is filled with traveling salesmen and the play takes off to a rollicking start.

Thanks to the fly system there are 9 different sets in this production and 12 major scene changes. The changes included various back drops flying up and down and various houses and buildings rolling on and off. All changes were performed seamlessly. The Deb Fennell also has an orchestra pit. This production makes full use of an excellent twelve piece orchestra under the direction of Alan D. Lytel.

The production has a cast of 37. All of the costumes were attractive and period correct. Most of the men were in shades of brown with the boys wearing knickers. The women and girls were in appropriate period pretty dresses in various muted pastel colors Marion is costumed in blacks and whites. Costumes and Scenery were credited to FCLO Music Theatre.

Meredith Willson wrote the story, book, music and lyrics for The Music Man. That was in the tradition of George M. Cohan and not many others. George M. Cohan had a hit in 1906 with his play 45 Minutes from Broadway. It was set in New Rochelle, New York. That is much closer to Broadway than we are out here. Luckily we have the Broadway Rose Production Company. They are dedicated to shortening the gap. Their mission statement: “To create unparalleled musical theater experiences that invigorate audiences and enrich our communities.” In fulfilling that mandate since 1992 they have tackled a great number of Broadway Musicals: From A Day in Hollywood a Night in the Ukraine to The Whole Wide World; from Oklahoma to Les Miserables. We should be thankful they are now doing The Music Man.


Joe Theissen Harold Hill

Chrissy Kelly-Pettit Marion Paroo

Norman Wilson Marcellus Washburn

Rachelle Reihl Eulalie M. Shinn

Annie Kaiser Mr. Paroo

Brandon B. Weaver Charlie Crowell

Martin Tebo Tommy Djilas

Haley Van Nortwick Zaneeta Shinn

Josiah Bartell Winthrop

Sherrie Van Hine Mrs. Squires

Claire Craig Sheets Ethel Toffelmeir

Shannon Jones Maud Dunlop

Margo Schembre Alma Hix

Makenna Markman Amaryllis

Joey Cote Ewart Dunlop

Thomas Slater Jascey Squires

Mont Chris Hubbard Oliver Hix

Bobby Jackson Olin Britt

Raeanne Romito Gracie Shinn

Dan Bahr Ensemble

Chris Bartell Ensemble

Collin Carver Ensemble

Matthew Faranda Ensemble

Karen Kumley Ensemble

Greg Prosser Ensemble

Jennie Spada Ensemble

Wendy Steele Ensemble


Alan D. Lytle Conductor

Marc Grafe Reeds

Alicia Charlton Reeds

Jennifer Woodall Reeds

Sean Kelleher Reeds

Levis Dragulin Trumpet

Giancarlo Viviano Trumpet

Eric Beam Trumpet

Bryabnt Byers Trombone

Gary Irvine Percussion

Jeffrey Childs Piano, Celeste

Marya Kazmierski Violin

Dan Schulte Bass

Production Credits

Meredith Willson Story, Book, Music, Lyrics

Flanklin Lacey Story

Peggy Taphorn Direction and Choreography

Alan D. Lytle Music Direction

FCLO Music Theatre Scenery and Costumes

Grace O’malley Costume Supervisor

Gene Dent Lighting

Tim Richey Sound

Jessica Carr Wigs

Audra Petrie Properties

Jessica Downs Stage Manager

Phil McBeth Technical Director

A Song for each year of the Twentieth Century

A song a year for the 20th Century

1901 Good Morning, Carrie w.Cecil Mack m. Chris Smith & Elmer Bowman
1902 In The Good Old Summer Time w. Ren Shields m. George Evans. 
1903 Good-bye, Eliza Jane w. Andrew B. Sterling m. Harry Von Tilzer
1904 Give My Regards to Broadway w.m. George M. Cohan
1905 In My Merry Oldsmobile w. Vincent P. Bryan m. Gus Edwards 
1906 Cheyenne w. Harry H. Williams m. Egbert Van Alstyne 
1907 Redwing w. Thurland Chattaway m.Kerry Mills
1908 Shine on Harvest Moon wJack Norworth m.Nora Bays & Jack Norworth 
1909 I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now w.Will M. Hough, Frank R. Adams m. Joseph E. Howard & Harold Orlob 
1910 Chinatown, My Chinatownw. William Jerome m. Jean Schwartz
1911 When Ragtime Rosy Ragged the Rosary w Edgar Leslie m Lewis Muir
1912 My Melancholy Baby” w. George A. Norton m. Ernie Burnett 
1913 Fifteen Cents w.m. Chris Smith 
1914 Down Among The Sheltering Palmsw. James Brockman m. Abe Olman
1915 I Love a Piano w.m. Irving Berlin
1916 If You Were the Only Girl (in the World) w. Clifford Grey m. Nat D. Ayer 
1917 For Me And My Gal w. Edgar Leslie & E. Ray Goetz m. George W. Meyer 
1918 After You've Gone w. Henry Creamer m. Turner Layton 
1919 Breeze (Blow My Baby Back To Me)w.m. Ballard MacDonald, Joe Goodwin & James F. Hanley
1920 Whispering w. Malvin Schonberger m. John Schonberger
1921 I'm Nobody's Baby w.m. Benny Davis, Milton Ager & Lester Santly
1922 Carolina in the Morning w. Gus Kahn m. Walter Donaldson
1923 Old Fashioned Love w. Cecil Mack m. James P. Johnson
1924 The Wreck of the Old 97 Probable w. Charles Noell Probable m. Henry Whitter
1925 Manhattan w. Lorenz Hart m. Richard Rodgers 
1926 When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along) w.m. Harry M. Woods
1927 At Sundown w.m. Walter Donaldson 
1928 Doin' The Raccoon w. Raymond Klages m. J. Fred Coots 
1929 Looking At You w.m. Cole Porter
1930 Time on My Hands w. Harold Adamson & Mack Gordon m. Vincent Youmans
1931 When Your Lover Has Gone w.m. E. A. Swan"
1932 The Song is You w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Jerome Kern
1933 Close Your Eyes w.m. Bernice Petkere 
1934 Stars Fell on Alabama w. Mitchell Parish m. Frank Perkins
1935 These Foolish Thingsw. Holt Marvell m. Jack Strachey & Harry Link
1936 I Can't Get Started w. Ira Gershwin m. Vernon Duke
1937 They All Laughed w. Ira Gershwin m. George Gershwin
1938 Jeepers Creepers w. Johnny Mercer m. Harry Warren.
1939 l What's New? w. Johnny Burke m. Bob Haggart
1940 Polka Dots and Moonbeams w. Johnny Burke m. Jimmy Van Heusen
1941 I'll Remember April w. Don Raye & Patricia Johnston m. Gene De Paul
1942 That Old Black Magic w. Johnny Mercer m. Harold Arlen
1943 Moonlight in Vermont w. John Blackburn m. Karl Suessdorf
1944 Don't Fence Me In w.m. Cole Porter 
1945 Give Me the Simple Life w. Harry Ruby m. Rube Bloom
1946 Stella by Starlight w. Ned Washington m. Victor Young
1947 (I'd Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China w.m. Frank Loesser
1948 It's Too Darn Hot w.m. Cole Porter 
1949 Some Enchanted Evening w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers 
1950 Swinging In a Hammock 1930 w.m. Vee Lawnhurst, et al. A hit in 1950 for Guy Lombardo 
1951 Shall We Dance? w. Oscar Hammerstein II m. Richard Rodgers I prefer to this in 4/4 time
1952 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I w.m Bill Trader
1953 Parker's Mood w.m. Parker, Beeks. 
1954 In Other Words(aka Fly Me To The Moon) w.m. Bart Howard
1955 In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning w. Bob Hilliard m. Dave Mann
1956 Just In Time w. Betty Comden & Adolph Green m. Jule Styne
1957 Too Close For Comfort w. Larry Holofcener & George David Weiss m. Jerry Bock
1958 Oh, Lonesome Me w.m. Don Gibson I prefer to do this at the Neil Young tempo
1959 Sea Of Love w.m. George Khoury & Phil Baptiste
1960 Hey Look Me Over w Carolyn Leigh m Cy Coleman
1961 Blue Bayou w.m. Joe Melson & Roy Orbison 
1962 From a Jack to a King w.m. Ned Miller. Released in 1958 but it took to 1962 to become a hit
1963 Yeh, Yeh w. Jon Hendricks m. Rodgers Grant, Pat Patrick 
1964 A Summer Song w.m. Chad StuartJeremy Clyde
1965 Like a Rolling Stone w.m. Bob Dylan
1966 Get Ready w.m. Smokey Robinson 
1967 Friday on My Mind w.m. George Young, Harry Vanda
1968 MacArthur Park w.m. Jimmie Webb
1969 Crimson and Clover w.m. Peter Lucia Jr. Tommy James 
1970 Instant Karma w.m. John Lennon 
1971 Your Song w. Bernie Taupin m. Elton John 
1972 Let's Stay Together w.m. Al Green 
1973 Drive-in Saturday w.m. Davie Bowie
1974 The Air That I Breathe w.m. Albert Hammond Mike Hazlewood
1975 Science Fiction Double Feature w.m. Richard O'Brien
1976 The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald w.m. Gordon Lightfoot
1977 Lay Down Sally w.m. Eric Clapton, Marcy Levy, George Terry 
1978 Life's Been Good w.m. Joe Walsh 
1979 Y.M.C.A. w.m. Randy Jones, Glenn Hughes, Felipe Rose, Victor Willis, David Hodo, Alex Briley
1980 Twilight ZoneTwilight Tone w.m. Jay Graydon, Bernard Herrmann, Alan Paul
198 Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby w.m. Louis Jordan, Billy Austin. Covered by Joe Jackson 
1982 Up Where We Belong w. Will Jennings m. Buffy Sainte-Marie & Jack Nitzsche
1983 Blister in the Sun w.m. Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie 
1984 The Sports Page w.m. Dave Frishberg
1985 Money for Nothing w.m. Mark Knopfler, Sting
1986 Al Bowlly's in Heaven w.m. Richard Thompson 
1987 Didn't We Almost Have it All w.m. Michael Masser, Will Jennings
1988 What I Am w.m. Edie Brickell, Kenny Withrow
1989 Timber w.m Kostas Lazarides 
1990 I Love to See You Smile w.m. Randy Newman
1991 Always Look on the Bright Side of Life w.m. Eric Idle 
1992 Baby Got Back w.m. Sir Mixalot 
1993 Have I Told You Lately That I Love You w.m. Van Morrison Covered by Rod Stewart
1994 Bad Reputation w.m. Freedy Johnston 
1995 Bury Me in Dixieland w.m. Buck Evans 
1996 Wonder w.m. Natalie Merchant 
1997 Another Suitcase another Hall w.m. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber by Madonna in Evita 
1998 Gone With the Breeze w.m. Jack Brownlow. 
1999 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes w. Dorothy Fields m. Jerome Kern covered by Bucky Pizzarelli 
2000 I Thought About You m. Jimmy Van Husen w. Johnny Mercer covered by Terence Blanchard

List of Film Programs Created (Not Complete)



The Nicholas Brothers: Hot In Harlem

Jazz Stars in Suppressed Films

Misc. @ 5  For Clark Humphrey

Lite Lit 2: The Remake

To Be or Not To Be Bop

The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers

Silent Comedy Shorts

Hard Boiled Babes of the Silent Screen

It Came Before MTV: Scopitones

Meet The Soundies (Jazz)

Jazz of the 30’s and 40’s

Jazz of the 20’s and 30’s

Country Music Round Up

Croon A Little Tune (Jazz)

Swing that Music (Jazz)

Three 1940’s Jazz Featurettes

A History of Jazz Part 2

A History of Jazz Part 1

War: Is It For You?

Queens of Burlesque

You’ve Got to be Modernistic (Jazz)

Singing Fools (Jazz)

Big Band Bounce (Jazz)

The Original Stylists (Jazz)

Often Censored Cartoons

Glorifying the American Girl

Baseball Hi-Lites

Historic Cartoon Cavalcade

Tin Pan Alley Songwriters On Parade

Wrappin’ It Up (Jazz)

Jazz Women On Film

Jazz in the 1940’s

Jazz in the 1930’s

Jazz in the 1920’s

Effect of Dada and Surrealism on Hollywood Movies of the 1930’s


Genius of Ladislas Starevitch, The

Politically Incorrect Humor on Film

Black Jazz Dancing

Not Even the Face is Familiar

Scopitone A Go Go

Beyond Barbie: Fab Vintage Toy Commercials

Jazz Cartoons of the 1930’s

Short Films of Harold Lloyd

Short Films of Laurel and Hardy

Short Films of Buster Keaton

Short Films of Charlie Chaplin

Short Films from the SF Underground

Weird 60’s Music Marathon

Fabulous Fatty Arbuckle

Strange Films from the Psychedelic Sixties

Short Films of Germaine Dulac

They Used to Call It Dope: Mystery of the Leaping Fish and also Sonny Bono

Mixed Nuts of the Silent Screen II

Mixed Nuts of the Silent Screen

Mondo Commie

Cross Dress Extravaganza: Men in Drag – Women in Revolt

Educational Hygiene Films

An Evening With Cab Calloway

Happy Birthday Duke Ellington

Mixed Nuts of the Silent Era

Recent Additions to the Film Archive

Hong Kong Hodge Podge

Food: Is It For You?

I Know Why You’re Afraid

Teen Trauma: Sex, Drugs, VD

Teen Trauma: Dating, Driving, Delinquency

About and By: Gordon Parks

Silent Animation

Max Fleischer’s Greatest Hits

Busby Berkeley Cartoon Show

Tex Avery at Warner Brothers

Cigarettes and Beer

Don’t Let it Bring You Down: Depressing Films on Interesting Subject

Karl Krogstad: A Body of Work

Anger At Work

Presidential Follies

Stag Party Special: A Delightful Evening of Vintage Smut

Mormon Church Explains It All to You, The

Salvador Dali Le Pink Grapefruit and Other Films

Lesser Known Silent Stars

Mack Gordon Music Night

George Kuchar: A Body of Work

Pare Lorentz: A Body of Work

Jean Vigo: A Body of Work

Joris Ivens: A Body of Work

Maya Deren: A Body of Work

Stan Brakhage: A Body of Work

Shocking Medical Films

Harlem in the 30’s Part 2

Harlem in the 30’s Part 1

Space Patrol, Space Patrol, Space Patrol

Life and Death in the 1950’s


George’s Films Featuring Mike

George and Mike Kuchar: Standard 8

World Festival of Puppet Animation

Future That Never Happened, The

Celebrating Death on the Highway

Marcia Brady Fetish Night

Cigarettes and Beer

George Burns: A Guy from the Neighborhood

So, You Wanna Fight
Outer Space is the Place
Christmas Family Films
Halloween Family Cartoons
Let Me Boogie Your Woogie (Europe fall 2009)
Selling that Stuff ‘Toon Style (Europe fall 2009)
The Future That Never Happened (Europe fall 2008)
Perspective on the Great Depression
Radio Days
The High Lonesome Films of John Cohen
Zero to MTV
The Dark, Sad, and Funny of Bad Parenting
No Reason to Stay
Primer on the Vietnam War
Defining the Sixties Through Commercials
Drug Scare Films of Sixties
Ooh La La A History of Lingerie
Tap Dance Films of the Thirties
Let’s Fly Away
I Love a Piano
Lindy Hop and Jitterbug on Film
Girl Singers of the 1930’s
Terrorism Light and Dark
Anarchy Can Be Fun
Oregon Originals Animation
Industrial Animation Amok
World Puppet Animation
Educational Animation
Comics Come to Life
Sixties Animation
Tex Avery Toons
Animators Go to War
Oregon Original Mel Blanc
Introducing Bugs, Daffy, and other WB Toon Stars
The Forgotten Greatness of Amadee Van Beuren
Early Works of Paul Terry, Walter Lantz, Ub Iwerks, and Charlie Bowers
The Mouse That Roared
From Zoetrope to Sound Cartoons
Really the Blues
Hey Kids! It’s Mickey Mouse
Cowboy Music
Dennis Nyback Christmas Special
Class Warfare Rock and Roll
The Portland That Was
TBA Thank You Films
Hey Batta Batta
Three Oregonians: Mel Blanc, Lee Morse and George Olsen
Gumby Superstar
New Improved Offensive Animation
Everyone Loves Laurel and Hardy
When Educational Films Meant Slapstick
The Greatness of Charlie Chaplin
Hal Roach Prince of Slapstick
Funny Films From Orphan Studios
Funny Fatty: The Great Arbuckle
Buster at his Best
The Funny Funny Forgotten Mentioning
The Greatness of Our Gang
Silent Stars in Knockabout Comedies
Wacky Women in 1930’s Comedy Shorts
Tough Babes of the Silent Screenings
Smoking, Drinking, Sex
Historic Films of the Pacific Northwest
Dennis Nyback’s Favorite Films
Marcia Brady Fetish Night
Fuck the Republican Party: Secrets from their own Propaganda Films
Drug and Booze Educationals
I Know Why You’re Afraid
Anti-Japanese Cartoons from WWII
Cartoons Too Violent for Kids
Europe Through American Eyes
I’m Not a Feminist, That’s Silly!
Corporate Animation Amok
Cult, Oddball and Rubberhose Toons
Strange and Vicious War Cartoons
Jazz Cartoons
Stag Party Special
NW Expose: Lost, Forgotten and Supressed Oregon Films
Creepy Educationals
Blaxploitation Cartoon Special
The Appallingly Bleak Film Experiment
Bike and Vaudeville Pedal Powered Films
Cartoons Not Intended For Laughs
Men in Drag/Women in Revolt: Cross Dress Extravaganza
Girls, Girls, Girls
The Big Dick Cartoon Show
Silent Movie Clowns
Rocky and Bullwinkle Marathon
Subversive Animation
The Truth About the Disco Decade
Sweet and Hot Bands of the 1930’s
Kill A Commie For Christ
Black Jazz Dancing
The Black Experience in the 1960’s
Billie Holiday From First to Last
Mental Hygiene Educationals
Live From New York
Driver’s Ed Killer Films
The Greatness of W.C. Fields Shorts
Double Disco Sixties TV
The International Sex Cartoon Extravaganza
The Light at the End of the Century Part I
The Light at the End of the Century Part II
Film Noir Educatinals
Rockabilly Music
Trailer Camp
Sunday Funnies Come to Life
Additions to the Dennis Nyback Film Archive
Goodbye to All That
Capital Punishment: Is It For You?
Disorder in the Courthouse
Hong Kong Hodge Podge
The Genius of Busby Berkeley
Mixed Nuts of the Silent Screen
The Friday the Thirteenth Special
Teen Trauma: Sex, Drugs and VD
Teen Trauma: Dating, Driving and Delinquency
A Bugs Life: Not!
The Valentines Day Massacre Romance ShowDon’t Let it Bring You Down
Scalpel Fetish Night
Private Life of a Cat and other Odd Views on Sex
An Evening with Cab Calloway
Jean Vigo Short Films
The Unseen Maya Deren
TV Trash Fest Orgy
Beyond Barbie: Fab Toy Commercials
An Evening with Duke Ellington
Joseph Cornel: A Body of Work
The Art of Animation
Cult TV
Groovie Ghoulies and Friends
Bruce Bickford Claymation
New Additions
Trash TV
Early Trips: First Films of Famous Directors
The Birth of Betty Boop
The Greatness of Ladislas Starevitch
Otto Messmer: The Man who Created Felix the Cat
Emil Cohl Animation Pioneer
Max Fleischer: A Body of Work
Offenisive Animation
Behind the Scenes in Hollywood
Cowboy Music Hoe Down
George and Mike Kucher in 16mm
Compare to Disney

Let’s Go to the Circus

An Interview from Many Years Ago

In 2003 I was contacted by a writer in Boston named John Chilson about being interviewed 
for a magazine he had created.  I never saw the printed interview and the web magazine is gone.
I corrected a couple of spellings and got rid of odd formatting garbage but did not 
edit any of the questions or answers. It is sort of snapshot of the time. 
All of John's writing is in italics. 
Yikes. I never e-mailed you my questions. I thought I
had, but was cleaning out my e-mail at the end of the
year. So, if you still want to answer them for
schlockmagazine.com that'd be swell!

I read other interviews with you with similar
questions I was going to ask, so I hope these won't be
TOO repetitive for you??


Dear John;

Forgive me for the tardy reply.  I am in Kiel, Germany.  I've shown two of my   
film programs here (last night and the night before) and will show the third tomorrow.  
I'll be back in New York on the fifteenth. Here are some answers to your questions.

1.    I can kick myself for not going around to various
libraries and schools and asking for their old films
when they were throwing them out when video was coming
into fashion. [Not that I do anything with them.]
Anyhow, I read in one of your interviews that many
times you just walked into a place and asked for
films being thrown out? Where do you get films from
these days? Is Ebay an option?

Yes, Ebay is now a primary source.  I still drop into junk stores and ask.   
People give me films. Yesterday I stopped at a store and asked about films.  
They said they would bring one in today that I could have for five bucks.  
It is German and from the fifties, probably a half hour long.  I'll be over there soon.      

2.     Does Portland know how lucky it is to have such an
awesome theater as the Clinton Street Theatre?
Seriously, here in Boston we have a few theaters that
seem to show the same old stuff, such as Reefer
Madness at some midnight screening. [Ooooh, how
daring!] Can you describe a typical showing at the
Clinton? Is it a weekly thing? Daily? What kinds of
audiences do you get?     

The Clinton is a jewel.  I am no longer connected with it except I can still  
 occasionally show my films there.  There is no typical show or crowd.  The  
 programming is all over the map and crowds range from very small to almost  
 filling the place.  There has not been a sellout for several months.  It is  
open daily.  Some of my programs played for up to two week runs or for only  
one night.  One of the programs I have here is called Hillbillies in Hollywood,  
It is music shorts, mostly Soundies, from 1927 to 1964. I showed it
for one night at the Clinton and over two hundred people packed the place.  It ran 
over four hours.  I then did a two and half hour version at the Experience Music   
Project in Seattle.  The version I'm showing here is a streamlined 90 minutes.     

3.   So, you started out in Seattle then moved to NYC,
then came back to Portland? Why Portland?     

I grew up in Portland. My family (on my mother's side) arrived by boat in   
1843 and founded the city.  They came from Portland, Maine.  The main reason  
I came back here was to save the Clinton Street which was slated to close.  
I also needed to get out of NYC as it was too difficult to pay for an apartment  
there.  I am moving back to NYC now. I will concentrate on writing and 
touring with my films.     

4.     In your interview on the kulture-void Website, you
mentioned you stopped listening to the radio in 1973
[you ain't missing anything]. I have a pal who is
adamant about never watching films made after the
early 70s. He's pretty serious about this. What are
some of your current movie faves? Do you pay attention
to what's being churned out by Hollywood these days?
Do you show current indie films?

I don't own a TV.  I read newspapers for information.  I do go to movies.    
In Portland I get in free.  I walk out on about half of them.  Did you read  
 my article Hollywood Garbage and How to Smell It?  It is at othercinema.    
Here in Germany I watched Gangs of New York (dubbed into German).  It was 
so-so. I did stay to the end.  In Kobenhaven I watched The Navigators and The  
Man Without a Past (in Finnish with Danish sub-titles).  They were both   
excellent.  I haven't seen any of the Oscar candidates except Gangs.  I think  
the Oscars are hogwash.     

5.    Have you ever thought of doing some sort of
traveling show across the country? Ever been to Europe
to screen films? If so, were they more appreciative?
The reason I ask, was there was a screening here a
couple years ago of groovy opening titles [Saul Bass,
etc.] and the audience was HOWLING with laughter at
some of the stuff. Pissed me off. I was chatting with
the curator afterwards and he mentioned that he
screened the same show in Germany, and each one
practically got a standing ovation from the audience.
Is there more an appreciation over there than there
is here?

Oh, I thought you knew about my European travels.  This is my seventh tour   
of Europe.  They started in 1995.  I think there are appreciative audiences  
 everywhere.  For the offbeat stuff there just aren't enough odd balls to s  
support most venues.  I have that Saul Bass film.  I think it's great. European  
audiences are a little more solemn than Americans.  I think they appreciate  
the fun of the films but also are there for the educational aspect.    
America has much less funding for the arts.  Getting guarantees there for my 
film shows is hard.  That is only at funded operations such as Yerba Buena 
Center for the Arts in SF and Simon's Rock College in Great Barrington,  
 Mass.  The best film town for old films is Paris, but I've never shown my   
films there in regular theaters like I have in other European cities.      

6.    Public domain. How do you get around it? Is it
possible to screening and ask for
donations or something?

I try not to worry about the copyright police knocking at my door. There is  
no getting around it by making it a "free" screening.  It also wouldn't pay  
enough.   For the hotter titles that the copyright holders try to suppress  
I ask that venues do not mention specific titles.  Before the internet I   
didn't have to worry at all, except in high profile venues.

Thanks for taking the time to answer. Also, would you
have any photos, artwork,  or posters of upcoming
shows I could add with the interview?     

Yes I have photos and art work.  I won't have access to most of it until I  
I'm again in Portland in June.  Right now you could grab stuff off of the we  
Best Wishes



Dancing Feet, I’ve Got Those Dancing Feet

When I arrived in Chicago in 1976 on a freight train one of the first places I went was the Congress Hotel. I wanted to see the Joseph Urban Room. It was one of the fabulous night clubs of the 1930’s.  I was familiar with it because of recordings of broadcasts from there by Benny Goodman in 1935.  Joseph Urban had been one of the great designers of the 20’s and 30’s.  At the beautiful Congress Hotel I not only did not find any trace of the Joseph Urban Room; I found no one  who had ever heard of it.

YouTube Preview Image

I had left Seattle over a month earlier on a southbound freight.  In Seattle I had discovered Lindy Hop and Jitterbug dancing by going to see The New Deal Rhythm Band.  The band was led by John Holte and featured the singer Cheryl Bentyne.  She went on to sing with the Manhattan Transfer.


I spent about a month in Chicago.  During the day I would watch the Cubs play in Wrigley Field, or if they were on the road, look at art in the Art Institute of Chicago.  Many days were spent  just walking around inside the loop marveling at the fabulous buildings, including great examples of the work of Louis Sullivan.


During the evenings I would look for jazz music.  At the Ravinia Festival out doors I saw Benny Goodman.  A week later at the same place I saw Ella Fitzgerald backed up by Roy Eldridge.  I saw The Wolverine Jazz Orchestra somewhere on the north side and also watched movies in the Biograph Theater.  That was where John Dillinger watched Manhattan Melodrama and then stepped outside to meet a hail of gunfire.


I made it back to Seattle and the University of Washington later that summer.  John Holte was leading a new band called the Swingland Express at an extended engagement at the Windjammer Restaurant.   Over the next year or two the band often played at the G-Note Tavern in Greenwood.  It had a nice dance floor.  One night at the G-Note Odessa Swan showed up wearing a vintage poodle skirt of heavy felt that was fully decorated with sequins.  Midway through a dance I put her into a spin.  The skirt edge rose to nearly horizontal and knocked a half full pitcher of beer completely off a too close table.

In 1980 I finally made it to New York.  That had been my goal during the summer of freight train riding in 1976 but I never did make it.  Just to make sure in 1980 I flew.  Once there I met up with Odessa Swan and Robin Reid.  We went dancing at various places.  One place was a long narrow dance hall where the Widespread Depression Orchestra had a regular gig.

YouTube Preview Image

Another place to dance was the Roseland Ballroom.  At the time the Les and Larry Elgart band was playing there.  It was hanging on to the last vestiges of a bygone era with employed dance hostesses and hosts, both men and women, who could be bought to dance with at somewhat more than a dime a dance.

YouTube Preview Image

Easily the best place to dance in New York was The Rainbow Room.  It featured a tiered seating area that sloped down to a dance floor of adequate size in front of a  bandstand where Sy Oliver led a swinging band.  The Joseph Urban Room couldn’t have been any better.






My friend Peter Schilling Jr. writes an always entertaining blog . Once a week he files  a report on Estate Sales.  This is the current installment of his Estate Sale Confidential. It has brought me to the point where I need to confess.  I am alive, but many years ago I held an estate sale to get rid of many of my possessions.  Simply put I knew I could get more people to come to an estate sale than to a garage sale.  I also knew that my accumulation of stuff would put to shame many legitimate estate sales I had attended.  I would also be re-selling things I had bought at estate sales.  Isn’t that piquant?

At the time I was around thirty years old and had been buying vintage clothes and other items since I was a teenager.  My apartment, in back of Dick’s Drive-in on Broadway in Seattle, was full of old stuff.  In fact about the only modern thing there was the mattress and box spring I slept on.  It was supported by a one hundred year old cast iron bed.  You might know Dick’s from the Sir Mix A Lot video Posse on Broadway.

YouTube Preview Image

Much of what I owned had come from Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and St. Vincent De Paul.  More came from The Union Gospel Mission Thrift in Pioneer Square, the CC Store in Vancouver, Washington, various antique stores in the Fremont and U districts of Seattle,  and Good Stuff Antiques in the Pike Place Market.

Good Stuff was run by Gene Trent.  He was an interesting man who always seemed to look at you with one eyebrow slightly raised.   It made him look as though he was leering .  Noticing he looked at everything that way took the leer away. The store was between 1st and Pike Place Alley on Pine Street which went steeply down hill.  You could stand on First and look down Pine to see if a red flag was sticking out from above the door of his shop.  That meant it was open.  One item sold at my estate sale was a poster size cardboard full color ad for AC Spark Plugs featuring the actress Priscilla Lane.  It was either true to life or the touch up artist provided her startling blue eyes.

The Union Gospel Mission Thrift was run by an old woman named Florence and somewhat younger man named Al.  It had three full stories of just about anything you could imagine.  Nothing ever had a price tag.  Asking Al to price something required a certain art.  If you could add an inflection indicating you really loved the item and had almost no money he would mark things dirt cheap.  Sold at the estate was a working Crosley Shelvador Fridge Al had priced at ten bucks.


 The Seattle neighborhood called Fremont was full of antique and junk stores and various taverns and bars.  The best place to shop was The Daily Planet Antiques.  It was also a place where 16mm films would be shown by Howard Hays after hours to invited audiences.  The most interesting  tavern was the Born to Boogie.  It always had motorcycles parked out front.  Sometime in the early nineties the Born to Boogie got a new name and became a fern bar. It marked the end of an era.  The most crucial shop was Har’s Repairs.  Harold was a specialist at fixing tube amp radios.  Sold at my estate sale was a small brown bakelite radio I bought from Harold.


The CC Store in Vancouver, Washington was a an amazing place.  It was on Main Street and had things  on the shelves that were fifty years old.  In the basement was a complete shoe department that had been closed in the fifties but still had racks of shoes just waiting for someone turn on the lights and begin selling them again.  I could devote a whole post to the unique CC Store.  Sold at my sale were new in the wrapper  one hundred percent cotton bed sheets from the forties.

Somewhere near Seventh  and Pine in Seattle was Shoucair and Sons.  It was a clothing shop.  Two sons of Khalil Shoucair, Elis and Nicholas, ran the shop.  Eli, the older, was steeped in old world ways. He always wore somber clothes.   Nick was younger and favored snappy bow ties.   Both were old men. They showed me how to tie a bow tie.  The shop also held treasures on the shelves, and hidden in drawers, of clothing dating to WWI.  Sold at my sale was a Mallory hat I had bought new.  It was probably from from the 1950’s.


I found that grave robbing was not above some people.  I had an extra large manilla envelope that held movie posters.  Among those inside was a half sheet for A Hard Days Night.


It was stolen.

It was a little creepy selling all the stuff.  People should not speak ill of the dead.  I heard more than one comment along the lines of “This guy must have been nuts.”  I also heard things I had bought described as beautiful as people gladly paid money for them.  I took in over five thousand dollars.  It was also liberating.  It is easy to place too much importance on possessions.  I tried to sell everything in the place.  I then was happy with what was left and began to buy more.

Eating Mindfully


This evening on the radio I heard an interview with chef Dan Barber.  He was introduced by the host as a chef who could create something with a few common ingredients and make it  taste like nothing ever tasted.  The secret was not the ingredients by themselves, but how they worked in combination.  That made me think of cheese in America, and especially on pizza.


 Well over a year ago I was at a restaurant with my sister and her family.  I ordered a corned beef and Swiss sandwich.  When it came I looked at the cheese and noticed it had an orange hue.  It neither looked nor tasted like Swiss cheese.  I sent it back.  Back it came again, exactly the same, with the statement that it sure was Swiss cheese.  I ate it.  I have eaten worse.  Going out the door the restaurant owner asked me how things had been.  I told him that it was not Swiss cheese that was on my sandwich.  He assured me it was, in fact it was “American Swiss cheese.” Then I got it.  “American Cheese”  means a processed cheese, which means various cheeses melted together and reconstituted, with emulsifying salts, with flavoring added.  What is has to do with Switzerland is nothing.  What it has to do with real cheese is even less.


More recently on two separate visits I ordered a hamburger at a friendly bar near where I work and both times it came with cheese.  I had specifically not asked for cheese.  Cheese was offered as an option.  Apparently no one in that bar ever ordered a plain hamburger.  With cheese was the default option.  To make things worse the cheese on it was a skinny slice of American cheese.  Honestly, I don’t think it added a whit of flavor to the burger.  It made me wonder why everyone ordered it.

Walking by a Pizza Schmizza the other day I noticed a lunch special of a slice and pint at a nice price.  I went in and asked which pizza had the least cheese.  The young woman said “They all have the same amount, except if you order double cheese.”  Ack!  Has it come to this?  The combination of flavors, which does depend on amounts, doesn’t matter with cheese on pizza?  In Europe I have had many quatre fromage pizzas.  I found this American  review on line:

The Quatre Fromages pizza at Danielle’s Wood Fired Pizza in Valley Village is topped with grated mozzarella, ricotta, blue cheese, and goat cheese. It’s a cheese lover’s fantasy, and a well-balanced pie—no single cheese manages to steal the spotlight.

Here is a European version:

100g grated Gruyere

75g roquefort

90g of goats cheese (or 1/2 log)

1 ball of mozzarella cheese or 1 package pizza “Entremont”

The American review  used the phrase “well balanced.”  The European recipe makes sure to note that not all are to be of equal size.  Both are a long way from Pizza Schmizza, which I am sure is no more to blame than any other pizza maker in America.

I do not blame either the pizza or the  people who buy it.  I blame mass advertizing that creates an artificial need.  Or maybe it is the Steve Miller Band we need to blame.  Hey, somebody give me a cheeeeeeeeese burger!

YouTube Preview Image